#16DaysofActivism – Taking it beyond the Hashtag

Today marks the The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the beginning of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence,which ends on December 10-Human Rights Day .The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women was designated in 1999 by the UN General Assembly.The date was chosen in memory of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic, who were brutally assassinated in 1960 for opposing a dictatorial regime and demanding equality and democracy in the Dominican Republic.I believe that activism against gender based violence should not be limited to just 16 days , and I hope that we can all fight against it every day. However, these 16 days are a chance to amplify our collective voices and create conversations and actions against gender based violence in different ways .
When doing activism,it is often tempting to just limit your actions to posting a re-tweet or sharing a Facebook status about issues concerning women. These methods can be effective, you never know who might actually read your post and be immediately fired up to action. However, there are other ways to be directly effective during this period of amplified activism.During these 16 days (and beyond), you can let your voice be heard by submitting an article to your local newspaper or magazine, about issues surrounding gender-based violence.You can cover topics ranging from Female Genital Mutilation to sexual assault and rape culture. Never underestimate the power of your voice,it has the potential to change many minds and shift different perspectives.
Influence Your Immediate Network!Do you teach at a school or university? Do you work with an NGO or grassroots organization? Find ways to in-cooperate issues surrounding gender-based violence into the conversation. Just yesterday, I had an interesting discussion about rape culture with some students, and it is my hope that we were able to at least push one another to think more carefully about victim-shaming in our society. We don’t need to target a large audience, but when we are able to push even one person to think more carefully about the perception of women in society-we have succeeded.
Finally ,be patient about the outcomes .Someone not showing a keen interest in your cause doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t care about violence against women.Find ways to get people engaged without making it seem like it is being imposed on them ,or is taking too much of their time. Check out these tools and resources that we can use during these #16daysof activism and beyond-Let’s go!
Below are some links about what the 16 Days of Activism, and how to do activism effectively.
Amnesty International-16 Days of Activism.
UN Women-16 Days of Activism ToolKit
AWDF-16 Days of Activism.

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